Tea leaves are deliberately plucked leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant. All of the thousands of variations of tea derive from this one plant. Think about wine - all wine comes from grapes. Tea is just the same - all tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. Pure, whole leaf, handcrafted tea fluctuates with the seasons (again, like wine). Therefore, the same tea from the same location can taste different year to year depending on many factors, such as the weather and rainfall. The Camellia sinensis plant is native to Asia but has been introduced into numerous countries across the globe for the cultivation of tea. Since its origin, the Camellia sinensis plant has evolved into two main varieties: the Camellia Sinensis Sinensis variety, found mostly in China and other regions of Asia; and the Camellia sinensis assamica variety, located on the Indian Subcontinent.
There is some debate on how to categorize tea, with different names and classifications used across different tea cultures. Since at OneTea we are crossing many cultural boundaries, we’ve decided to break tea down into these six main categories: Green, White, Oolong (Wu Long), Black (Red), Pu'Er (Fermented), and Herbal. Although herbal teas do not contain any Camellia sinensis leaves, we use it as a category since many cultures have tea made from dried fruits, herbs or flowers. So, even though these are not ‘true’ teas by a connoisseur's standard - they are considered tea in many cultures.